Located at 117 St. Johns Road in Johnson, Jenna’s House is a center point for the community, helping to break down the stigma associated with substance use disorders. The main floor of the community center is a state-of-the-art events venue and provides space for events for up to 250 people. Anyone from the community can use this space for business meetings, political rallies, town, and local community functions, and school and or other educational functions. This building provides space for the benefit of the community through plays, musical events, and business or social functions. People can hold sober weddings or funerals if they cannot afford to do so otherwise. The facility also has a full kitchen equipped for catering that can supplement all events with meals. Jenna’s House sits on 2.9 acres of land, and the outside of the building offers space for a playground and many outdoor recreational and social opportunities.
The lower level of Jenna's House houses the satelite location of the North Central Vermont Recovery Center which offers a Health & Wellness Program and a Moms In Recovery Support Program. These programs of the NCVRC will add many services to persons in recovery including access to a fully equipped gym, nutritional services, wellness planning, support groups, recovery coaching, classes, financial assistance, and more.
"Jenna's House is Open"
Grand Opening Recap
Speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony was Town of Johnson Selectboard Member Nat Kinney; Greg Tatro, founder of Jenna’s Promise; Daniel Franklin, Executive Director of North Central Vermont Recovery Center (NCVRC); U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders; and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch. Prior to the event, members of the recovery community hosted a media tour for press in attendance. Throughout the event, members of the community took part in a range of open house activities, including educational workshops about Naloxone (Narcan) and harm reduction, as well as presentations about NCVRC's programs including the Health and Wellness program, recovery coaching, and the Moms in Recovery Support program. Narcan and harm reduction packs were also available for free to attendees. The event was attended by 300 members of the public.
“This is a very proud moment for Dawn and I,” said Greg Tatro. “We are so grateful to so many members of our community who came together to support our mission. We’re going to change the way addiction is looked at and the way we go about helping people,” Tatro added, referring to the holistic approach the organization is taking to helping neighbors seek help, recover and improve outcomes without the stigma of addiction.
The organization was founded in memory of Jenna Tatro, Greg and Dawn’s daughter, who passed away in 2019 following an overdose. Jenna had been in recovery and had made a promise to Dawn to help other people get through the struggles of substance abuse. Prior to her death, Jenna promised Dawn that she would fulfill her pledge to help others in recovery, and now the Tatros are changing the paradigm to complete their daughter’s vision.
“I feel like we’re keeping Jenna’s promise,” said Dawn Tatro. “Jenna wanted to help others, so this is what we’re going to do, one person at a time.”
“The Tatro family had a choice to make,” Senator Sanders said. “They could succumb to their grief in losing their beautiful 26-year old daughter… and bury their heads in the sand and turn away from life, or they could do everything they could to make sure that other families don’t have to go through the pain that they have gone through. And that is what they did, and that is why we are here today.”
Peter Welch explained that “Jenna’s House is going to be a place where folks can come and find encouragement rather than judgment, where they can find hope rather than disapproval… [The] community that Jenna’s House will be is more essential than ever.”
Later in the evening, Greg and Dawn Tatro hosted the first annual Jenna’s Promise Inspiration Award dinner in the new facility. Accepting the first annual Inspiration Award was Governor Phil Scott, who offered the keynote remarks. “This is homegrown, this is grassroots. This could help others throughout the country. This is the right support at the right time to make a real difference,” he said. Providing video presentations were U.S. Senator Pat Leahy and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders shared a message via staff in attendance after his appearance earlier in the day. U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who developed a relationship with the Tatros following Jenna’s passing, also shared a video message. Both Senators Leahy and Booker, in addition to the governor, stressed that Jenna’s Promise could be a new model for the nation. Vermonter, Phish guitarist, and recovery advocate Trey Anastasio also shared a video message of support after his organization made a $40,000 donation to support the Jenna’s Promise coffee roasting company in Johnson, which will support the organization and help those in recovery with jobs.